4 Things Your Startup Team Must Know Before Going Global

January 28, 2017

12:45 pm

So your company is doing really well in the US and you want to expand. You’ve heard the international markets can be incredibly lucrative and you want to give it a try. That’s all well and good, but if you don’t know what you’re in for, you could end up in a lot more trouble than you bargained for. Fortunately, going global isn’t that hard when you know what you’re doing.

We asked four entrepreneurs what startup teams should keep in mind when their company is about to go global? Check out their answers below and get those airline miles ready for a serious bump:

Translate Everything Carefully

Moving your product to the U.K. from the U.S. seems easy enough, but when you start dealing with different languages and character sets, you’ll have to be sure that you’re not leaving out any words, sentences or other key information. You also have to take symbols and accents on letters into account. None of this is ever as simple as it seems, so get ahead of it.

– Ben Gamble of Quincus

Make Sure You’ve Explored All National Opportunities

Particularly in the manufacturing world where the logistics of selling internationally has a major impact on your bottom line, it’s often better to focus your growth in your local and national market and grow your small business into a medium-sized business before you go global.

– Lisa Curtis of KuliKuliFoods

Hire a Legal Team

I work frequently with overseas investors and entrepreneurs, and the biggest challenges they encounter are almost always legal in nature. The fact is that if you’re doing business anywhere but your home country, there will be certain laws you’re not aware of and certain processes you don’t understand. Having a lawyer (or two) on staff is critical, especially in the early stages.

– Steven Buchwald of Buchwald & Associates

Train Your Employees on Cultural Business Norms

Clients can easily see when your staff sincerely attempted to learn their country’s cultural norms and when they didn’t. Most clients will greatly appreciate the effort, as they know that learning cultural differences is not easy. For example, a South American businessman may have a loose definition of timeliness when arriving for a meeting, while a German businessman may value punctuality. Being on time can make or break a relationship.

– Robert Gerov of VOKSEO

FounderSociety is an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

Photo: Flickr / Romina Santos

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